Acid Flashback No. 1

by Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley

for Billy

The first time I dropped acid,
mistaking a Johnnie Walker Black billboard
for Joanne Whalley-Kilmer straddling a chair
like in the poster for Scandal,
you couldn’t see it, even after we pulled over
on the expressway down near the airport.
How the soft gold of the striding man logo
had morphed into arms and legs akimbo
in the rising heat just before twilight.
I tried to explain Christine Keeler,
how she brought down the British government
with her showgirl appeal, accused
of being a spy, sleeping with the Muscovites,
the intricacies and absurdities of the Profumo Affair,
how sex and friendship can turn on a dime.
You told me I was too old for you, I was a show-off,
ruining your drugs with my ancient history,
the way I lorded my high school education over you.
Your words tipped us into cold war,
smoke-screened the wall you were building all year,
preparing to sacrifice me over the three years
that separated our births, making me a casualty
of your zeitgeist.
John Profumo was the last Secretary of State for War,
a position now made obsolete, struck off,
as if battle plans would never be needed again.

Last updated March 30, 2023